February celebrates National Boy Scout Week

The cub scouts of Pack 128 demonstrating flag etiquette during Flag Day 2021. (MORGAN HINZMAN/The Record Delta)

Every year, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) celebrate the organization’s anniversary during the first full week of February.

According to Britannica.com, the organization of the Boy Scouts was originally for boys from 11 to 15 years of age and aimed to develop good citizenship, chivalrous behavior and skill in various outdoor activities. The Boy Scouts of America movement was founded in Great Britain in 1908 by a cavalry officer, Lieutenant General Robert S.S. (later Lord) Baden-Powell, who had written a book called Scouting for Boys (1908) but was better known as the defender of the town of Mafeking in the South African (or Boer) War.

Baden-Powell’s book described many games and contests that he had used to train cavalry troops in scouting. It became popular reading among the boys of Great Britain. Prior to the book’s publication, Baden-Powell held an experimental camp on Brownsea Island off the coast of southern England, in which he put into practice his ideas on the training of boys.

Baden-Powell’s idea was for a small group of boys to organize themselves under a boy leader or “patrol leader.” Their training would consist of things, such as tracking and reconnaissance, mapping, signaling, knotting, first aid and all the skills that can arise during camping and similar outdoor activities. To become a scout, a boy would promise to be loyal to his country, help other people and in general obey the scout law, itself a simple code of chivalrous behavior easily understood by the boy.

According to scouting.org (Boy Scouts of America page), the youngest group, Cub Scouts, is for ages kindergarten through fifth grade. Boy Scouts is for those who have completed the fifth grade and are at least 10-years-old. Venturing and sea scouting are for young men and women at least 13-years-old, who have completed the eighth grade. Exploring clubs serve middle schoolers, ages 10 to 14 in sixth through eighth grade. Each advancement phase requires its own individual standards.

In 2017, BSA announced that it would be allowing girls of the appropriate ages to join their local troops. Girl Scouts were still operating and allowing scouts to join, however in many locations, only boy scout troops were operating. This advancement was a large advancement for girls wanting to learn from the pack and troop masters.

Upshur County is home to Pack 128, which is for cub scouts. The pack master for 128 is Erin Perry. For the older boys and girls, Upshur County has Troop 100. This group consists of the older boys ages 11 to 18. The Troop master for 100 is Clayton Tenney and this group meets every Tuesday evening at Chapel Hill.

Unfortunately, because of COVID-19, the troops were unable to celebrate the BSA anniversary this year. However, the scouts are very active in camping trips, holding their weekly meetings and working on service projects.

For more information, visit Beascout.org or scouting.org.

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